Premiere | Mariage Blanc, "Ghostwriter"
Over the past decade Mariage Blanc has been expanding their audio experiments and exercises in evolution that spans the interstates that connect Pittsburgh to San Francisco. Announcing the advent of their new anticipated album Mirror Phrase that was produced by Beau Sorenson and mastered by Jeff Lipton — Mariage Blanc unveils the world premiere for "Ghostwriter" that moves like unseen apparitions with the gently and hazy geist of a simpatico specter. A group that has remained committed to continually challenging themselves in the fields of creative processes, employing varied methods and different approaches; the latest song cycle from Matt Ceraso, Josh Dotson, Josh Kretzmer and Rich Kawood accentuates a sensibility of the sublime that appears like a benign ghost emerging from the instruments and consoles in the recording booth.
Mariage Blanc’s debut of “Ghostwriter” haunts like an understated adventure of getting lost in one’s conscious stream of thoughts. The quartet hones in on summoning the pensive state of reminiscing through the yellowing photographs of emotion laden memories. Notions of recollected nostalgia are blended from the mental process of reckoning with dream-like events of the paranormal where the subdued vocal delivery blends beautifully bright chords and muted electronic components that add to the misty atmosphere. The catchy chorus hook of voices escaping through the space beneath my door imagines the motion of spirits reenacting their roles from the all but forgotten pasts that are illustrated like film projections beamed onto a mercurial canvas of San Francisco fog. The warm and holistic arrangement finds Mariage Blanc basking in the wisdom and wonders gleaned from the experiences of the past that carefully collect themselves in moods of melancholy and longing that manifest themselves again in the present. Altogether the effect of “Ghostwriter” is something akin to the sudden wake of a déjà vu moment where the eye, ear and mind of the beholder witnesses an event that reoccurs with an all-consuming vague familiarity. The song celebrates the notions of seeing and feeling recollections written and/or illustrated with the pointed pen of an unknown and potentially supernatural hand.
Josh Kretzmer of Mariage Blanc provided some exclusive insights on the making of Mirror Phrase and more in the following insightful thought piece:
Firstly, I should state that no creative process is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ The details of our process shouldn't be viewed as some manifesto. The following is simply how we work—or maybe what has worked for us, thus far.
Over the years, the process of making music in Mariage Blanc has changed pretty significantly. This is a good thing, and if art is any reflection (intentional or not) of the individuals generating it—I would expect changes in our process to continue.
For us, creating music has always started with simply fumbling around in the dark, trying to find something that resonates with us. That could be a chord progression, a melody, a rhythm... It doesn't much matter what the mechanism is, just that it evokes some emotional response. That initial feeling serves as a direction for everything that follows. You can think of it a bit like an address—a location in emotional terrain.
In our earlier work, we would try to find personal experiences that felt in-line with the emotional response elicited by that initial musical idea. Those personal experiences would then serve as a guide for what the song would be ‘about.’ This provided us with a framework to develop and finish the song—and the personal experience would often heavily influence the lyrics.
Over time, we began to see mining personal experience for creative guidance as a distraction. While those memories may have shared some common ground with the initial sign-post, they were inherently in a different place. They were bringing baggage with them and that baggage would narrow the scope of what the song could be. We realized that having intent, trying to write ‘about something’ was steering us off-course.
We began to approach creative work as a process of discovery, a conversation, with no particular end in mind. We are attempting to paint an emotional landscape—we are learning what it feels like, but won't know what it looks like until the conversation has come to a close. Be a courteous participant in the conversation. Resist the impulse to steer. Get out of the way as much as possible.
Our hope is that the end result is as inspiring and intriguing to us as the creative process itself. We want to render something that is ambiguous and diffuse; where there is hopefully enough noise to blur the signal, where our own intentions are revealed to us. For both ourselves and the listener, we want to create an effect akin to misinterpreting music heard faintly from a distance—an involuntary creative response.